Our Family

Our Family

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: Reading Eggs

Reading Eggs

Back in 2012, I had an opportunity to review Reading Eggs with my then 6 year old son, Anthony.  He loved it!  My youngest child is now 6 years old and starting to learn to read, so I was excited to have another opportunity to use and review this fun, award winning, online reading program.
Reading Eggs*

There are 3 different reading programs in the Reading Eggs Family.  Reading Eggs Junior is for children ages 2-4 years old. Reading Eggs is for 3-7 years old, and Reading Eggpress is for 7-13 years old.  They also offer a math program for 3-9 year olds called Math Seeds.  The Reading Eggs program takes beginning readers to a second grade level of reading.  Reading Eggs uses five keys to reading success: phonics, phonemic awareness, comprehension, and fluency to teach reading skills in a game like atmosphere.  As children complete activities, they earn eggs that can "buy" them different items in the game for their house or egg, or earn them playtime in the arcade.  A short placement  test will help determine where in the program your child needs to start.  Reading Eggs can be played on a computer with an internet browser, or on Apple devices with iOS 8 or newer or Android 4.1 Jelly Bean or later.

There are printable worksheets available to go along with the lessons.  They also just released a brand new set of program guides for homeschoolers that provides a 36 week learning sequence for language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.  You can print out the schedule, start at the beginning of the program or find the lesson your child is on and read down the lesson plans for each subject.  For example in lesson 16 it shows the phonics lesson an , vocab words hand, stand, and dance , and book Sam Can Dance along with a poetry suggestion to read with your child, Old Woman in a Shoe.  The My Program books to for this lesson are Talking Tigers, A Man, A Face, and I Can.  The MathSeeds less is on the number eight and it lists teaching books as 6 to 10, Count to 10, 8 Legs, and Spiders.  The science topic is weather and the reading eggs library book is Hot Places and the junior library book is My First Weather.  The social studies topic is my area and the book from the Reading Eggs library is Our Indigenous People.

You can purchase Reading Eggs as a 6 month subscription for $49.95 or a one year subscription for $59.  They are offering a Free 4 Week Trial until November 30, 2017. 
Emmie (6) has been using Reading Eggs.  We started out using it on the computer, but I had to get her to the website and logged in before she could get started.  It was also hard for her to click and drag some of the things in the activities so I put the app on my iPad and she has been playing it on there ever since.  She can open the app and play Reading Eggs completely independently on the iPad. 

 After taking the placement test, Emmie started on lesson 11, which seemed to be a good spot for her.

When she clicks on the My Program it takes her to this page. 

From here she can click on her map to do her next lesson, or read one of the books on her shelf.  I really like the book feature.  They don't have to read them, but if they choose to and complete the quiz they earn more eggs.  There are fiction and nonfiction books on the shelf and as they complete more lessons they have different books to choose from.  The books can be read to them or they can read them themselves.

Once they go into the map and to the current lesson, there are 12-13 activities to complete for each lesson.  The activities are not the same for each lesson, there are a variety of interactive activities tat include things like clicking and dragging words to match the pictures, matching capital and lowercase letters, helping frogs to hop across lily pads by clicking on the correct word, putting words in the correct order to make a sentence, and many more.

Emmie loves Reading Eggs.  It is fun to play and has already helped improve her reading.  She loves all the interactive activities and the variety.  I like the books that they can read and that there is a mix of fiction and nonfiction.  I also like the worksheets that go along with the lessons.  You do not have to do them, but for those who have children (like Emmie) that enjoy worksheets or who want extra reinforcement of the lesson, it is a great option.

Anthony has been using Reading Eggpress.  The placement test started him at lesson 101.  It is similar to Reading Eggs in that there is a map with the different lessons and each lesson has a variety of activities. The activities in Reading Eggpress are more advanced with questions about things like parts of speech, dictionary questions, deciding what type of book it is by studying the cover, and comprehension questions.  Students still earn eggs for completing activities that can be used in their apartment or for their avatar.  They also collect trading cards.

Anthony does not think that Reading Eggspress is as much fun as Emmie thinks Reading Eggs is, but he doesn't complain about doing it and likes the reward cards that he can collect. I think it is a good program for children in that 7-13 year old age range to help develop their language arts and reading comprehension skills.  Lessons take around 30 minutes for Anthony to complete. 

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 8

This week was a bit of a homeschool bust.  Things didn't go as planned.

Monday morning after we dropped Nick off for his class, he went to the co-op and bought a new pair of clippers for the goats.  If you read my last week's post, that will make sense because we had a goat with a very bad haircut, one goat that hadn't been cut, and some dead clippers.  I cringed at the cost of the clippers they had, I did not want to spend the money!! I was assured that they were good quality and would last a really long time.  Our goats needed a haircut, so I spent the money.

After we got finished at the co-op we went and walked the Nature Trail at the park.  We had not walked back there since last spring.  It was a really pretty morning and they were excited to find some painted rocks.  At the end of the trail we saw a squirrel that did not look like a gray squirrel. he fascinated us and we watched him for quite awhile, we think it was a fox squirrel.

When we got home after picking Nick up, we headed home to do some school work.  We got through our Bible lesson, worked on the poem God and the Soldier, and did our geography lesson on Chile.  By then it was lunch time.

After lunch we went out to see how the clippers worked and trim a goat.  They worked great!  I wish I'd spent the money on them the first time.  It was so hot though, we were roasting!  I'm sure the goat felt better!  The younger children completed a math lesson.  Alex and I barely had time to run in and shower after finishing one goat before heading off to music lessons.

After music lessons I was home long enough to do a few quick chores and fix a quick supper.  Then it was time to drive Christian and Alex to soccer.

When I got home Emmie told me she needed some medicine because she had a sore throat.  Ug.  Emmie gets sick to her stomach when she has a sore throat.  I was really hoping it was going to be a mild thing and that wouldn't happen.  1:30 in the morning she was running fever and threw up.

Tuesday morning Emmie was still sick.  She just wanted to lay with her head in my lap.  After Nick got home we did a Bible lesson and then watched our Introduction to Engineering video and the children worked on a building challenge to build a tower using 4 sheets of computer paper and 1 foot of masking tape.  They did a math lesson and that was all there was to our school day.  Nick helped with Liam while I took care of Emmie and Alex and Christian worked on fixing the bad haircut on the other goat and trimmed hooves.

I dropped Lily off at gymnastics and her daddy picked her up.

Emmie continued to get worse all day long so I decided she really needed to go to the doctor Wednesday morning.  I took Nick to school, called the doc as soon as they opened, and went home to get her ready to go.  Her appointment was 10:15 so we picked Nick up and headed over there a little early.  Every chair was full (another ug!!) Nick went and sat in the van.  I didn't blame him.  I didn't want to be in there either!  Anyway an odd thing happened while we were in the waiting room.  Emmie started talking.  She hadn't said a word since Monday night.  I thought hmmmmm......When we made it to a room and were waiting for them to do a strep test, she said she was hungry.  She had not had anything but some sips of water since Monday night either.  As you probably know her strep test came back negative.  She started eating and drinking a short while later.  I continued to give her an antihistamine and Tylenol for the rest of the day but by the next day she had no fever and her throat didn't hurt any more.

By the time we got home it was after lunch.  We watched 2 episodes of Drive Thru History American History and called it good.

A short time after that we had to head to Kid's Club.  Emmie stayed on the coach in the parlor far away from all the other kids and watched Netflix on my iPad.

Thursday we had a regular school day.  We did a Bible lesson, worked on our poem.  We read through lesson 8 in America's Story on William Penn and Pennsylvania.  We also watched one more lesson of Drive Thru History. We completed another engineering lesson and did some research on different types of engineers.  All of the children did a math lesson. Anthony and Christian did step 17 in AAS and worked on their Readers in Residence lesson.  Emmie did some Reading Eggs and Anthony did a Reading Eggspress lesson. 

That night Alex and Christian had a soccer game.

Friday was our usual errands and grocery shopping.  I took the children home and went and had lunch with my husband.  My children pulled out their chess set that hasn't been used in quite awhile and have been playing quite a few chess tournaments.Saturday we spent the day cleaning the van and getting things ready for the state fair! (that didn't go as planned either but that's a story for another day)

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: Brinkman Adventures Season 4

Brinkman Adventures

Does your family enjoy listening to audiobooks?  Brinkman Adventures is a series of dramatized audiobooks of true missionary stories told through the fictitious Brinkman Family.  We recently had an opportunity to review Brinkman Adventures Season 4

Brinkman Adventures
You do not have to listen to previous seasons of the Brinkman Adventures before listening to Season 4, but you may want to.  Brinkman Adventures Season 4 has 12 episodes that are around 25 min each for over 5 hours total of listening:

A Paradise Lost
Remember Nhu
Aisha's Fear
Heart Song
The Crashed Kitchen
Crisis in the Congo
The Mysterious Palm Feller
War of the Raccoons
The Five Guys
Toughest Man
Cambodian Quest
What Brings Us Together

You can purchase Season 4 as a set of audio CDs for $31.99 or purchase it as a download for $25.99.

 We enjoyed all of the episodes in Season 4, but I did want to talk about a few of my favorites. The very first episode grabbed our attention.  The Brinkman family (and the others at the camp as well) could've sat around being unhappy their adventure was not going as planned when they could not use the lake.  Instead, they found other ways to spend their time that ended up being better then what they originally planned.  That was a good lesson to learn.  Remember Nhu is about a girl who is sold into slavery and a man who cannot stop trying to save her.  He does eventually find her and rescue her and she ends up helping others who were in similar situations.  At the end of the episode there is an interesting piece of information that they could not find an actress to do the voice of Nhu and it ended up that the real Nhu did her own voice on the CD!  I found War of the Raccoons very interesting because it reminded me so much of things my boys would do, especially all of the tech stuff they were doing, with the robot RD protecting the house, trying to stop the raccoons from eating the fish,  and the lessons Ian had to learn that applies to us all.

One of the things we enjoy about the audiobooks is that they are action packed and keep you on the edge of your seat.  The sound effects are really good too.  These stories show children how God uses people even today to do his work and spread the Gospel.  They cause us to think about things that going on in different parts of the world and the roles that missionaries play.  Parts of the stories are intense.  It's not really scary but they do deal with difficult topics and if you have younger, sensitive children you may want to listen in ahead of them.  There are lighthearted, happy, humorous moments as well throughout the stories. I like the realistic, real life touches that are added in when the children do some different things that I could so see my children doing, like breaking all the eggs in the kitchen thinking they are "helping."

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: CTCMath


CTCMath is an online math curriculum that starts with kindergarten and goes all the way through the upper levels of high school math.  They offer a Single Membership or a Family Membership.  Over the last few weeks we have had an opportunity to use and review the Family Membership from CTCMath.  They offer a free trial and homeschoolers can get 60% off plus a bonus 6 months.

CTCMath is a complete curriculum for grades K-8.  Starting at grade 9 it is recommended to be used as a supplement.  A subscription to CTCMath gives you access to all of the grades and you can move between grades as you need to. You also have the ability to move through the program in the recommended order or pick and choose which topics to study.  You can use this program on a computer but it works on tablets as well.  CTCMath has over 1400 different math lessons and over 57000 interactive questions.

Each lesson starts with a video lesson taught by Australian teacher Pat Murray.  The length of the video varies but all of the elementary lessons we have viewed have been under 5 minutes long.  The video gives a couple of problems and shows them being worked out. At the end of the video students are wished good luck with their questions.

Then they move on to answering the questions based on the lesson.

Students are given immediate feedback after attempting the questions.  A green check mark shows up if it is correct or a red X if the answer is incorrect.  The correct answer is also shown.

After finishing all of the questions, they are shown all of the questions with the correct answers and their percentage.

A bar graph shows the percentages for each lesson completed.  Students earn Platinum, Silver, and Bronze awards as they complete lessons.

Parents have a separate log in that allows them to see exactly what their child has worked on.  They can even see how long it took them to complete the lesson.  Weekly reports are also emailed to the parent.

I have been using the Family Membership over the last several weeks.  Emmie is in first grade and has been using CTCMath as her main math curriculum.  I have also been using it as a supplement for my 10 and 12 year olds, choosing topics that they struggle in and having them work on those 1-2 days per week.

One of the things I like about CTCMath is that you are given access to all grades rather then being  locked into a specific grade level.  So if you start your child in a particular grade level and they start off doing well but find it becomes too difficult you can switch them to a lower grade, or if it becomes too easy you can move to a higher grade.  I really like that you can move through the program how you choose.  For Emmie we are following along with the recommended order, but for Anthony and Christian we skipped forward to the multiplication lessons because that is where they have the most math difficulty.

The lessons are short and to the point.  The voice on the lessons is easy to listen to and understand.  I love the visual aspect of the lessons.  In the multiplication lessons I thought it was a great idea that they covered up the number not being used and wondered why  had never thought of that.  The immediate feedback is great for children so they know right away if they have the answer correct or not. I also like how easy it is for them to see their progress and also for parents to see exactly how the child is doing.  I sit with Emmie every day when she completes her lessons so I know exactly how she is doing, but with older children they can log in themselves and do the work on their own so it is so helpful to be able to easily access the reports.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 7

Monday morning I woke up grumpy.  I was tired.  I didn't get enough sleep.  I didn't get as much accomplished over the weekend as I wanted to and here it was another Monday morning.  I had to roll out of bed early, get all of the children dressed and out the door by 7:25.  Instead of being able to get all of the things done I needed to do I had to stay in town as has been our routine since Nick started taking Robotics at the high school this year.  I was just feeling kind of fed up with everything.  And then as I was walking in the park I started thinking.  It was a beautiful morning.  the sun was shining and the temperatures were beautiful.  We have a beautiful park in our town that is kept up nicely.  There are many things to do there.  We live in a safe place that you don't have to worry about walking in the park . I could think of a whole lot worse ways to spend a Monday morning then with my children at the park.  I decided I would choose to enjoy it rather then being grumpy about it.  What a difference in attitude you can have when you choose to count your blessings rather then look at the negative in everything ( I need to remind myself of this often!)

The kitten that we found in the shop last week is still hanging around.  It is not our neighbors cat so I assume it was dumped somewhere close by.  We have a house cat named Sally who is around 5 years old.  She is not allowed outside, although she tries to get out from time to time.  She is fat and lazy and well loved when she chooses to let others love on her.   We have two outside cats, Lucky and Jack.  They are brothers.  We got them when I was looking for a cat to rid the shop of mice (when you have animal feed you have mice!) I detest mice.  We ended up with both of them because the owner didn't want to separate them (they are very attached to each other), and they had had their shots and were fixed, so we brought them home.  They have done a great job with the mice and are friendly and sweet to the children.  Now this new cat we have named Marshmallow.  She is very sweet and playful.  The children have spent a lot of time playing with her. They are trying to get me to bring her in the house but I am not sure we need another creature inside to upset the natural order of things.....

Our Activities this Week:

Monday Lily and Alex had music lessons in the afternoon.  Lily is really enjoying hers, I think Alex is but 13 is a HARD age and it's not easy to tell. 

The boys had soccer practice that evening.

Tuesday was a soccer game.  Christian did not play because he had a stomach ache.  He stayed in the van and watched Netflix on my phone (which is why I didn't get any pictures.)  He was feeling just fine the next day.

Nick had youth.

Wednesday was Kid's Club. 

Thursday Nick and Alex had a teen leader meeting.

Friday we had our usual errands and grocery shopping.

Week 7 in our Homeschool:

Bible:  We started using a Bible study this week from Kid Niche Christian books called Weave Your Word in Me.  We also continued reading through the book of Luke and read from Luke chapters 10 and 11.

P.E.: Walking at the park.

Poetry: We started memorizing God and the Soldier.

Geography: This week we studied Greenland

History: We completed lesson 7 in America's Story on Life in the Colonies.  We colored a map of the 13 colonies, designed a floor plan of a house, and read the lesson.  I have ordered Drive Thru History's American History DVDs to add a bit more to our lessons and can't wait until they get here.

Science:  We started a new course called Think Like an Engineer from Innovator's Tribe (upcoming review.) We watched the first two lessons.  We also read lesson 6 in Science in the Age of Reason about when the correct shape of the earth was discovered. 

Math:  Emmie completed two lessons in CTC Math.  I continue to work on multiplication flashcards with Anthony and Christian.  They all completed 4 lessons in MLFLE.

Reading/Spelling:  Emmie started Reading Eggs last week and LOVES it!  She also worked on Phonics Museum.  Her working on these two things was good for me this week when unexpected things happened and I did not get back to AAR with her.  We will pick back up with that next week.  Lily completed lessons 45 and 46 in AAR Level 3.  Anthony and Christian completed step 16 in AAS Level 4.

Language Arts:  Christian and Anthony are still working on the On Your Own Historical Fiction section in Readers in Residence.  They are enjoying Johnny Tremain, especially when they read about characters that we have learned about in history and other books we have read. 

Alex 8th Grade:  Alex's science lessons this week were on charts and graphs.  His language arts assignments included a quiz and lessons on listening with a purpose.  Math lessons were on multiplying, adding, and subtracting integers.  History lessons were on colonial lifestyles, life in a Puritan colony, Mid-Atlantic lifestyles, and the middle bread colonies.

Nick 10th Grade:  Nick completed lesson 7 in MUS Algebra II.  In history he completed lessons 17 and 18.  In Marine Biology he started module 3 and read chapter 7 in health.

We are a little over a week from the state fair.  We have never been there before and this year will be showing our goats. In preparation for the fair the goats needed their hair cut, and hooves trimmed.  There was a miscommunication about trimming horns.  The boys thought they needed to be cut again . Unfortunately it was cut it too deep and cut a blood vessel.  Thankfully we were able to stop the bleeding and the goat is ok.  Then Jessie got a hair cut but the trimmers are not working properly (trimmers I just bought a few months ago and have only been used a few times!) and her haircut looks rough.  We were not able to cut Bessie's hair at all.  Tomorrow I need to see if I can get another pair so we can cut her hair and trim her other horn to look more like the short one without cutting too far.

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!